Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vintage Review: The Artist

Winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture (2012)
Whenever I can’t quite seem to make it to the theater to catch a new release, I’ll be posting a Vintage Review instead. These reviews will cover a range of older films, from classics to duds— and everything in between! They will function much the same as my regular reviews, albeit somewhat shorter in length. :-)
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Now, here is a film that caught me completely off guard... I mean, what was I supposed to expect from a silent, black-and-white film made in 2011? It seemed like an idea that simply could not work in the age of modern cinema... and yet, it triumphed. It was wonderfully entertaining on so many levels, the most refreshing of which being the film’s story. It was elegant in its simplicity; unfolding a very real character one careful piece at a time. He fears what men fear most—the possibility that he is no longer needed.
But it doesn’t (and wouldn’t) have to be that way, were it not for the character’s fatal flaw. His classic flaw, that ancient hubris, is that which prevents him from achieving the goal of the story. Thematically speaking, this is exactly as it should be. The protagonist’s flaw should always play against the theme of the film. Aspiring screenwriters, even seasoned professionals, would do well to study this character arc. In a film that works so well on so many levels, I’d dare say such an arc is The Artist’s greatest strength.
Films that are reviewed on this site undergo a very arduous, yet fair, scoring process. It takes quite a bit for a film to earn a 5-star rating. This is a film that has earned it. It is easily one of the most entertaining and intelligent movies I have seen all year. On top of that, its production values are all excellent. I must specifically applaud Jean Dujardin’s stand-out performance as the film’s lead character, George Valentin. His charming characterization managed to add a whole new level of richness and complexity to the role.
Overall, I couldn’t recommend this film more. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. You’ll be glad that you did.

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